Ann Buckley has campaigned for the new community hospital on the Oak Park site for as long as we can remember. With the population of Havant rising relentlessly, this is just one example of several we could think of where closer integration and cooperation between Havant Borough Council and Hampshire County Council is urgently required. (Traffic Management is, of course, another.)
As Ann writes below, the Borough desperately needs these services for older people, but twelve years have elapsed and the old Oak Park School site remains empty, overgrown and litter strewn.
“Many residents will remember that when both the Victoria Cottage Hospital in Emsworth was and the Havant War Memorial Hospital closed, a new community hospital was agreed for the Havant Borough. Planning consent was given in 2010 for the hospital on the old Oak Park School site in Crosslands Road in Havant but at the last moment the NHS decided not to proceed. To replace the day services, it was agreed that a Clinic would be developed to provide services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and podiatry. The NHS Oak Park Clinic scheme went ahead.
An innovative scheme for a nursing home with 80 beds for older people to replace the lost hospital beds was drawn up. There would also be a Hampshire County Council (HCC) extra care housing scheme with 100 flats for older people, to be built on the Oak Park land. Plans were approved and a consortium won the bid in 2014. Contradictory government policies on Welfare Reform paralysed the project and the contractors appointed by HCC finally pulled out.
Eventually another consortium was formed for this £25 million pound project but that second partnership also fell through. A third partnership was formed with HCC, the NHS and the provider. In my last article in the Ems I reported that I had received a reply from HCC stating that the construction work was due to start in Summer 2020.
My recent enquiry to HCC did not bring good news. For the third time the Oak Park Health and Community Campus, which could have been a superb local facility, providing nursing care, housing and home care facilities during the pandemic, has fallen through. It’s back to the drawing board. It’s hard to resist the view that there has been inadequate scrutiny, poor procurement, and sadly no communication at all from Hampshire County Council with its residents.
The Borough desperately needs these services for older people, but twelve years have elapsed and the old Oak Park School site remains empty, overgrown and litter strewn.”
© Ann Buckley / The Ems – 2021